Story written in 2019

Patricia Robinson turns 60 later this year.

No doubt there will be some form of celebration, and husband Michael and son Jonathan will ensure it is a happy occasion.

As ever, such a significant milestone may prompt renewed hopes and aspirations for the future, and reflections on what has happened in the past.

For Patricia, or ‘Trish’ as she is widely known, looking back will sadly also bring back so many painful memories.

It is now ten years since the eldest of her two sons, Christopher, died as a result of leukaemia just a day before he was due to receive a stem cell transplant.

By 2016, Trish herself had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), and, unable to cope with the devastating news having already lost a grandson to the disease, her mother committed suicide.

And then, after underdoing her first treatment of chemotherapy, Trish was faced with the loss of the family’s pet dog Mollie, even more poignant than the traumatic loss of any pet as she he had been much loved as a puppy by Christopher.

There are however some positives amid such a cruel and heart-breaking sequence of events which could easily have destroyed those of a lesser strength.

Trish is in remission, and Sunday September 1st, was not only the start of Blood Cancer Awareness Month but also the three-year anniversary of the stem cell transplant which saved her life.

There is also warm and fulsome praise for Cure Leukaemia co-founder Professor Charlie Craddock CBE and his team at the Centre for Clinical Haematology at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

“The best there is,” interjects husband Michael, clearly so very grateful that he still has his wife alongside him and that collective strength to take on whatever life continues to throw at them.

And Trish herself remains a generally lively and vibrant personality, even after such a seemingly unending catalogue of personal devastation.

“What else can you do? You just have to keep going,” she says.

She has returned to part-time work with the NHS, is a regular at her local Nuffield Health and Wellbeing Centre, has been away with friends to Thailand, and enjoys riding her horse Cresta near their home in the village of Cannock Wood, by Cannock Chase.

The family has also has a new pet dog Bonnie, and a stake in a syndicate which owns race-horse Ami Desbois.

So Trish is looking forward, “onwards and upwards”, whilst never forgetting the past and her own battle with leukaemia which began just prior to the Christmas of 2015.